Monday, June 2, 2014

"I am the Gardener here"

 I want you to watch this mormon message if you can before you read my letter from this week because this perfectly describes the spiritual lessons I learned this week. I still remember when Elder Christofferson gave this talk in General Conference and I thought I know what it meant then but I realized this week that I still have much to learn about Heavenly Father and the love that He has for me as His daughter.
  This week I had to finally put everything in Heavenly Father's hands and have faith that He knows best. All of my life I have dreamed of serving a mission. I have always wanted to be a missionary. Then I was given the opportunity to be a part of the hastening of the work and serve starting at age nineteen. On top of all that I was called to serve in the most beautiful and wonderful part of the world; somewhere that I dreamed of serving. I can honestly say that my mission has been a dream come true and I have loved every minute of it. Often throughout a normal day here I will just look around and ask myself how I got this luck? What did I ever do to deserve this amazing experience? On Thursday we had a unique Zone Conference. President Rudd wanted all of us to experience some of the Maori culture and so we had met on a marae and had maori speakers from all over the country come talk to us about the culture and how it is linked to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We also heard many inspiring stories about missionaries that served here many years ago. Again I sat in my seat and felt inspired by to opportunity I have to be a missionary at this time. It was during this conference though that I was faced with the reality that my mission in New Zealand could be coming to a close. My health isn't declining but it isn't improving either. I had to stop and ask myself if by forcing myself to stay out here if I was fighting against God. I couldn't however understand why He would ask me to leave this country and my mission. Wasn't I here to serve Him? Wasn't I doing His work? Why then was 
 struggling and why did it look like my mission was coming to a close? I finally cam
 to understand 
that if Heavenly Father really wanted to test my faith He would ask me to come home. I knew that coming home would be a big challenge for me and that it would require me to really lean on Him. I have had to do a lot of fasting and praying the last couple of days and a miraculous thing has happened. I finally was able to bend my will to the will of God. I have been able to let go of everything that I want and really put it all in His hands and trust Him. I know that Heavenly Father loves me enough to cut me down so that I can grow into what He wants me to be. I have prayed and asked Heavenly Father if He really does want me to come home and I still don't have an answer. I don't feel like I am meant to stay or go at this point so I am just moving forward. I have decided to stay as long as I can and enjoy every minute of it but I know that should my condition decline that I will have to come home to get better and I am okay with that now. I know that Heavenly Father just wants me to reach my full potential and so if I have to end my service here in New Zealand early to do that then I will be okay. I can't describe to you the spirit of peace and comfort that I feel as I think about the future and what may happen. I have decided to enjoy whatever time I may have left here whether it be six months or less and not worry about anything else.
  sorry it's a short one this week but I don't have much else to say. Just know that I have a strong testimony of the work that I am doing out here and I am grateful everyday for the opportunity to serve. I love and miss all of you! Have a good week!
Sister Simkins

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